Now that you’ve completed (or at least started) the process of researching your new website, the next thing to prepare is the site’s content. This is a really important step that’s often overlooked.
As a web designer, I’m quite often asked if I can design the site and then ‘slot the content in’ afterwards. The answer is, unfortunately, no. Think about your site’s users – they’re visiting your site for the content, not the design(!), so this is an absolutely crucial aspect of your site to spend some time on and get right. Trying to build a site without the content can lead to some major flaws as the designer has to make quite a lot of assumptions about what will be available content-wise.
Fortunately, seeing as you’ve just completed the research process, you should now be in a pretty good position to create the initial content for your site. You may even be feeling particularly inspired by some of the content you’ve seen on your internet travels. So, where to begin?
First of all, make a list of all the pages you’re going to need on your site. All of them, including any privacy policies, disclaimers, terms and conditions, etc. You may want to start thinking about how these might be organised in your site’s navigation, though this can be refined later.
If you have a lot of pages that need to be organised into dropdown menus, you will also need to consider if the links that trigger the dropdown menus are pages themselves or if they only exist to open the submenu. I would generally advise that we create pages for these links to provide a more consistent user experience, otherwise users can be left wondering why some links go to pages and some don’t. The point of mentioning this is that you may need more pages than you think, so make a list!
Such a clunky word – are your pages just text or do they need to interact with the users somehow? Basic examples of this would be a contact form or a list of gigs – often the page title gives this away, but it’s still worth considering at this stage.
You are now in the position to start writing the copy (text) for each page. Ultimately, what you write may evolve or change throughout the design process, but it’s a good idea to give this as much thought and time as you can initially so we’re working with content as close to final copy as possible.
Start to compile images you may want to use on the site. If you don’t have your own professional photos I’d recommend sourcing these from a stock photo website such as Shutterstock and I can help with this process if needed.
Once you’ve got a good idea of the images you’d like to use on the site, start roughly assigning these to pages. If you have lots of images for the site, it can be useful to create folders for each page and a general folder of photos for use throughout the site.
Next Step: Design!
Ultimately, a great website is about finding the best way to present the content to your site’s users. Having researched your site used this as the basis for your content, you’ll be in the best possible position to achieve this. The next step is to start a conversation with your designer about turning your work into a new website. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch.